BioLineRx has announced that it has signed a worldwide, exclusive license agreement with Genoscience and RFS Pharma to develop and commercialize BL-8030, an orally available treatment for Hepatitis C.
The agreement includes upfront license fees, milestones and royalties payable to both companies, which terms are consistent with BioLineRx’s standard in-license agreements.
BL-8030 is a potent and selective second generation NS3 protease inhibitor. The NS3 protease is essential for the replication of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and is an important target for HCV therapies.
BL-8030 has been shown to have excellent antiviral activity against various HCV genotypes.
Pre-clinical studies have demonstrated an improved resistance profile against common protease inhibitor mutants, resulting in a lower probability that the virus will develop resistance to treatment.
In addition, BL-8030 has demonstrated a good toxicity profile in pre-clinical studies, exhibiting specificity only to the viral protease and lack of activity against a relevant panel of human proteases as well as a clean profile versus human liver enzymes, which is expected to lead to less drug-drug interactions.
BL-8030 was invented by Professor Philippe Halfon and his team at Genoscience and co-developed with assistance from scientists at RFS Pharma, LLC.
Prof. Halfon, Co-Founder and President of Genoscience, is a specialist in molecular virology and infectious diseases, especially HIV, HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) and Hepatitis.
In addition he is the founder of several biotechnology companies focusing on antiviral drug discovery and development including ACTgene, Alphabio and Genoscience.
RFS Pharma was founded by Professor Raymond F. Schinazi; he currently serves as the Frances Winship Walters Professor of Pediatrics at Emory University. He is also a founder of Pharmasset, Idenix, Triangle and ActivBiotics Pharma.
Prof. Philippe Halfon said, "We were impressed by the drug development expertise of the BioLineRx team and are very pleased to collaborate with them on a second HCV project. There is clearly a huge unmet medical need in finding a safe and effective treatment for HCV, and based on pre-clinical results, we believe that our product, especially when combined with other available Hepatitis C drugs, has the potential to become an important addition to HCV combination therapies and bring remedy to millions suffering from this devastating disease."
“We worked closely with the group at Genoscience to determine the optimum characteristic that led to the discovery of BL-8030 and related protease inhibitors,” said Dr. Steven J. Coats, Senior Director of Chemistry at RFS Pharma.
“We are privileged and fortunate to partner with two world class groups in the development of viral therapeutics," said Dr. Kinneret Savitsky, CEO of BioLineRx.
Dr. Savitsky continued, "Two years ago, we took a strategic decision to enter the dynamic and rapidly growing field of Hepatitis C. Since that time, we have evaluated numerous projects in the field. A year ago, we identified and decided to focus on the in-licensing of the two most promising candidates: BL-8020, which we've recently licensed, and now BL-8030. We will do our utmost to develop these promising drugs as swiftly as possible for the benefit of Hepatitis C infected individuals around the world.”